I get misty the moment you’re near…

The Industrial Revolution was one of those game-changing periods in human history when life was altered so thoroughly for so many as to be essentially unrecognizable to previous generations, and the Revolution was powered by burning coal.  Coal in the nineteenth century ran the machines and also heated the houses in the great cities that were being built, like London.  In today’s London, it’s worth climbing to the top of St. Paul’s for the spectacular view, but in the winter of 1901 smog limited the average visibility to half a mile.  Street intersections were blocked due to lack of visibility, busses were abandoned as unsafe to drive, and people literally walked into the posts of street-lamps during the daytime.  The smoky air was of course nothing new…Londoners had been burning coal and irritating lungs as far back as 1272 when King Edward I banned the burning of sea coal.  He got nowhere with that, and neither did Richard III or Henry V when they attempted to legislate for clean air.  The smog phenomenon even contributed to our understanding of evolution.  Before the Industrial Revolution when the air was still relatively clean, the peppered moth was a mostly white-winged creature that hid in plain view among the lichens on trees in London.  After two hundred years of ever-increasing soot deposits on the trees, the moths evolved to feature dark-colored wings to help them hide on the darkened trees.  By 1952, the air was so putrid that more than 4,000 Londoners were killed by smog over a four-day period…leading a few years later to one of the first effective Clean Air Acts the world has known.  These days I find the air in London unremarkable, which is of course much nicer than “chewy”.  The peppered moth is having another go with evolution, changing back to the good, old-fashioned light-colored version of itself.  The image below is of my hometown, where we do have issues with air pollution still, but on this occasion the mist was just a lovely fog rising from the Cumberland River.  (1 December, 2009  Nashville, Tennessee)

Bright lights, little city…

The Shelby Street Bridge over the Cumberland River in Nashville, TN was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998…not for its beauty but due to its unique truss design.  The city had considered demolishing the bridge a few years earlier after it became unsafe for vehicular traffic, but thankfully someone noticed it was pretty.  These days it is a pedestrian bridge, one of the longest in the world, and gets heavy traffic on game days for the Tennessee Titans.  I shot this image in 2009 for a lighting industry calendar.  (6 November, 2009  Nashville, Tennessee)

Hey where did we go, days when the rains came…

Some time on May 1, 2010, it started raining in my hometown of Nashville, TN.  When it stopped raining, more than thirteen inches had fallen over the two-day period and the floodwaters were rising.  This was taken on the night of May 3, when the rains had stopped but the Cumberland River downtown was yet to crest.  This photo was taken from the parking lot of the Titans’ stadium across the river from downtown, and the building is the iconic Batman Building, also known as the AT&T building.  That reflection was available courtesy of the flooding, so recreating that particular view would be somewhat difficult.  (3 May, 2010  Nashville, Tennessee)